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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 52606
Last updated: 24 October 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic LANC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Avro Lancaster Mk I
Owner/operator:61 Squadron Royal Air Force (61 Sqn RAF)
Registration: R5661
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Aircraft missing
Location:Atlantic Ocean, South West of St. Eval, Cornwall -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF St. Eval, Cornwall
Destination airport:
In August 1942 a complete Lancaster Squadron was placed under the control of Coastal Command. No 61 Squadron flew to St.Eval on August 3 1942 to commence operations.

On 19 August 1942 at 11:45 hrs 61 Sqn Lancaster R5661 "QR-J" took off from RAF St. Eval, Cornwall, tasked with attacking the SS "Coruna" an (Altmark Class) Tanker of 12, 000 tons, off the north coast of Spain and sent a sighting report but then nothing more was heard from this aircraft. it is believed that the Lancaster found the ship and attacked, but was evidently shot down by the ships defences, and to have crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, not far from the English coast, on the return to RAF St. Eval. Cornwall.

It remains a mystery as the body of the wireless operator washed up on the Dutch coast. However, due to this event, Sgt Townsend rests in Westerschelling General Cemetery, Terschelling, Friesland. The remainder of the crew, including Sgt Canet from St.Kilda, Victoria, and Sgt Witham of Albert Park, Victoria are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial:

Pilot / F/O. A.L. Searby 67626 RAF / Runnymede Memorial; panel 67
Flight Engineer / P/O. A. Eaton 113398 RAF / Runnymede Memorial; panel 69
Navigator / Sgt. I.V. Witham 401357 RAAF / Runnymede Memorial; panel 113
Bomb Aimer / Sgt. A.E. Townsend 925413 RAF / Terschelling cemetery; grave 66 / washed up Terschelling island 28 August
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner / F/O. R.A. Haig 84886 RAF / Runnymede Memorial; panel 67
Air Gunner / Sgt. D. Canet 401298 RAAF / Runnymede Memorial; panel 112
Air Gunner / Sgt. S.R. Vowles 1315934 RAF / Runnymede Memorial; panel 95



Revision history:

17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
30-Dec-2014 21:20 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Dec-2014 21:21 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
18-Aug-2017 19:13 TigerTimon Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Source, Damage, Narrative]
03-Nov-2018 09:00 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
18-May-2020 09:54 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Cn, Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]

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